How much does the Buddha's nirvana fall within the bookends of the Nirvana-principle a term which Freud borrowed from Barbara Low? According to Low,
“It is possible that deeper than the Pleasure-principle lies the Nirvana-principle, as one may call it—the desire of the newborn creature to return to that stage of omnipotence, where there are no non-fulfilled desires, in which it existed within the mother's womb. Freud has pointed out that Birth is no new beginning in the psychic life of the individual (any more than in his physical life), but rather an event which serves as an interruption to his ante natal situation. It is an interruption terrific and painful in its intensity and suddenness, but one which cannot obliterate the individual's desire for the earlier situation, to which throughout life he seeks to return, and thus to revert to his beloved Omnipotence, once again free from all external and internal checks" (Psycho-analysis A Brief Account of the Freudian Theory, p. 73).
As much as there might be the sudden urge to scout what Low has to say for various reasons, which I shall not go into; upon further reflection, when I saw the term "antenatal" I was reminded that nirvana is described the following way by the Buddha.
"Monks, there is a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be apparent no escape from this here that is born, become, made, compounded. But since, monks, there is an unborn ... therefore the escape from this here is born, become ... is apparent" (Udâna 80-81).
Assuming Low is correct in her account of Freud that birth is "no new beginning in the psychic life of the individual" the antenatal state is even prior to being in the womb. The Nirvana-principle is, therefore, not a desire to return to the womb, and by doing so negate life, but instead a vague and imperfect recollection of primordial felicity. We might also consider that there is a natural drive to nirvana, but an imperfect one which is laden with karma which adds up to adumbrations of nirvana—not actual nirvana. Perhaps this is our idealism; our utopian dream of a better world.
Short of reaching the other shore of nirvana, the Nirvana-principle, which might be deeper than the Pleasure-principle, tends always to remind us of life's finitude, conditionality and, more importantly, that suffering and death are never far away. Said another way, life with its obvious pleasures is regulated by the Nirvana-principle. Ultimately, if nirvana is realized, pleasure or sukha is infinite, not finite. But this is not where Freud has gone. Based on what Barbara Low has said and others, I see no reason why some of this can't be woven into Buddhism. I have tried it a little, and find it interesting.